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The American Society for Deaf Children

By Megan Fetzer
Sunday, April 5, 2009

The American Society for Deaf Children

The American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC) was founded in 1967, as a parent helping parent network. The ASDC helps families raising children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. They provide support, information, education and resources to parents and families.

The American Society for Deaf Children has four core values listed at their website:  (http://www.deafchildren.org/)

1. "We believe that deaf and hard-of-hearing children are entitled to full communication in their homes, school and community. Language development, respect for the deaf, and access to deaf or hard-of-hearing role models are important to assure optimal, intellectual, social and emotional development."

2. "We believe that consideration of communication opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing children should be based on facts. Research consistently demonstrates that fluency in sign language and English offers deaf children (including those with cochlear implants) and hard-of-hearing children optimal opportunities for social and academic success, and thus both should be part of their language-rich environment."

3. "We believe there should be access to identification and intervention by qualified providers, family involvement, and educational opportunities equal to those provided to hearing children. The goal should be to provide children with what they need in order to become self-supporting and fulfilled adults."

4. "We affirm that parents have the right and responsibility to be primary decision-makers and advocates. For this role, parents need education, access to information and support."

The ASDC wants to give deaf and hard-of-hearing children equal opportunities in the hearing world. In order to do this, they provide families with information that will help them help their children.  The ASDC gives out the Lee Katz award, which recognizes extraordinary parents of deaf children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Lee Katz was the first president of the International Association of Parents of the Deaf and was an outstanding leader for families of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The ASDC website provides an abundant amount of information and support to families. They provide resources with a list of articles that parents can read to help them become informed about helping and educating their deaf or hard-of-hearing child. One article I read, titled Communication Options provided parents with communication methods to use with their deaf or hard-of-hearing child. The article includes communication methods such as American Sign Language (ASL), cued speech, oral communication, signed English and total communication, just to name a few. This is a good article for parents to read if they need support and information on which mode of communication will best fit their child.

There are many opportunities for children who are deaf of hard-of-hearing and their families to participate in activities in their community. In July - Leadership Opportunities for teens age 15-18 who are deaf or hard of hearing and use spoken language to be role models and leaders in their community, at a three day program. In my opinion, this program sounds like a great opportunity for teens who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to gain confidence in themselves and show their peers they can be leaders and role models just like any other person without a disability. Another newsworthy event: I think it is awesome that a deaf man and his mother are racing on the television show the Amazing Race, right now. This is just one example of a young adult who is deaf and is showing the world, you can accomplish any goal or dream you want if you put your mind to it. What a great role model for other young people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. It touched my heart on the first episode when this team came to the finish line and the host used ASL to say "you are team number..."

Contact the ASDC:
3820 Hartzdale DriveCamp Hill, PA 17011
Hotline: 1 800 942-2732
email: asdc@deafchildren.org
Their website is at:  http://www.deafchildren.org/

REFERENCES:
1. The American Society for Deaf Children http://www.deafchildren.org
2. The Amazing Race www.cbs.com
 


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